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Optimizing everything

How young Polymetal specialists propose to improve the elements of production - from labor protection to the composition of explosives

At the point where the hard work of human thought and unhurried geological processes collide, there is always a place for optimization: a person is imperfect, and the subsoil does not know pity. In mining without constant improvement, nowhere, and the methods of mining in the modern world become “grandfathers” much faster than two generations of miners are replaced. EastRussia watched with curiosity the scientific and production conference of young specialists from the Far Eastern Polymetal enterprises, which it was worth visiting at least to understand: only those who are constantly improving win the battle with nature for precious metals. 

Optimizing everything
Photo: Press service of JSC "Polymetal UK"
Gathering young representatives of Polymetal assets to discuss optimization proposals is already a tradition for a mining company. This is one of the key personnel development formats, while a third of Polymetal's employees are young people under the age of 30. And it’s not even surprising that young specialists are ready to work out their topics with mentors from among their senior comrades outside of working hours. Another thing is surprising. Most of these projects do not remain in a purely theoretical plane: the proposals discussed at the research and production conference are both practical and scientific. 
At the same time, you can improve a lot in mining. And almost at every step. 

Get the status of a young specialist and participate in the CPD can any employee of "Polymetal" at the age of up to 30 years, having a higher education and first time employed in the company
Here, for example, lime. Why, one wonders, is lime in gold mining? It is used as one of the reagents for heap leaching. But to combine lime and the Svetloye deposit, which in 220 km from Okhotsk is in itself a difficult task. The reagent must be purchased from third-party suppliers and delivered to the production site in the absence of roads — in the summer, as already written by EastRussia, you can get here only by helicopter, in winter - by bus. As a result, lime is purchased on the "mainland" and goes to the Okhotsk region on barges, and then falls into the field as described above.
The young economist of the Okhotsk Mining and Geological Company, Evgeny Ushakov, drew attention to the fact that around 300 km from the gold mining site there is a limestone deposit. How to turn it into a savings on lime purchases? Build a caravan, bring equipment for navigation, take out limestone for 2019 year from the deposit, and then slowly - by 2 thousand tons per year - to make lime on Svetloy itself. 
A two-year supply of 4 thousand tons at an installation costing 15 million rubles, which Chinese companies are ready to supply, can be produced for 72 days, Evgeny Ushakov estimated. Estimated base effect for Svetliy - saving 87 million rubles for seven years. Or more than 10 million rubles a year. 
Discussion on the topic of Ushakov, as well as of all 14 presentations, was held in an interested atmosphere: colleagues communicated, aiming at an economic effect. General Director of Polymetal Vitaly Nesis and other representatives of the top management asked Yevgeny Ushakov several questions to which he quite clearly answered. 
Another example is Sergey Kuzmin, a leading engineer-technologist at the mountain planning department from Albazino Resources LLC, who proposes to use not only anchors for fastening rocks to prevent collapse during explosions, but also to reinforce them with an armature. Unstable rocks in underground mining should be fixed frame structures. But heavy lining is more difficult to install, it costs more, thus strengthening costs increase. 
Strengthened armorkarnasom anchorage, calculated by Sergei Kuzmin, allows you to reduce labor costs in 2,5 times, and the financial cost of fixing one running meter - almost 30%, to mechanize the fastening process, to minimize the location of people under loose space. "How to decide when to install this type of fastening?" - Vitaliy Nesis was interested. "Only with actual examination of output. In my estimation, approximately 60% of the frame fixtures of the Olginsky ore zone can be replaced by anchors with an armored frame, "the specialist replied.
Of course, thoughts on optimization in mining can also be directed to the technology of rock destruction. The jury members listened with great attention to the proposals of the mountain master from Svetly Kirill Zorin, who proposed using more powerful type of explosives. The ore from Svetloye is known for its high abrasiveness - it grinds off drilling tools much faster than in many other deposits. Just to reduce the cost of drilling and blasting, you can drill fewer wells, laying a more powerful substance there. 

In the photo: Cyril Zorin, mountain master

Kirill Zorin explained in detail how much the enterprise can spend on it and how much to save on it. It is noteworthy that to enhance the explosive power, it is possible to use used engine oil, which is available in any production, and waste of electrometallurgical production. The recipe of the substance is a commercial secret, as, indeed, and the peculiarities of its application. But the calculations are impressive: instead of 26 wells in the section of the 3,5 size 3,5 meter you can drill 15 wells in the 4,2 area at 4,2 meters, Kirill Zorin estimated. Specific consumption of explosives is reduced from 1 kg to 0,58 kg per cubic meter. 
Estimated cost reduction due to reduced drilling volumes and explosive use - 26 thousand rubles. by 1,4 thousand cubic meters. Or 12,5 million rubles. per year - 33% of operating costs. “Is this composition already practically used somewhere? Where does the data on the explosion energy of the composition come from? " - asked Kirill Zorin from the jury. “These are theoretical developments. I haven’t blown anything up for them yet, ”he confessed amid friendly laughter in the audience. 
But the leading PTO engineer Viktor Dostovalov from Albazino Resources approached optimization in terms of process control - in this case, the movement of vehicles in a quarry. The picture is simple: excavators are working, 13 dump trucks are suitable for them. Loaded - moved away. It would seem that here to optimize? Only increase bucket size or body capacity. But for a specialist it is obvious: not everything is as simple as it seems. 
Therefore, a special software and hardware complex was installed at the enterprise, allowing real-time tracking of movements of all machines, time spent on each operation, and then analyzing the data. The main goal - that the machine is not idle. 
As a result, the output, calculated by Viktor Dostovalov, managed to grow by about 5%. Every second of the "maneuver time" saved on loading is in the account. After all, all this eventually results in millions of rubles: for example, if in 2013 the year the load was shipped as quickly as it began in 2014, after the system was introduced, this would give an increase in production of 45 thousand cubic meters per year, or 5,5 million rubles. The acquired automatic control system paid off in two years. 
However, it would be a mistake to consider that in Polymetal only those young specialists who work with ore in quarries or in underground mining are engaged in optimization processes. For example, Anna Bykova, a chemical engineer at the Analytical Laboratory of the Amur Hydrometallurgical Combine, proposed to implement the program module developed by her throughout the company, which will allow more detailed monitoring of production risks. And Artem Maskov, a district geologist at the Svetloye deposit, outlined the prospects for predicting gold mineralization on the basis of multispectral space imagery-a remote technology whose data will help to conduct geological exploration more accurately and expeditiously. The last project was impressed by the jury: due to the analysis of available images in the open access, the geologist showed the assembled several promising areas where gold-silver veins can be found. 
One of the slides, on which the final scheme was drawn, applied to the already developed quarries of Svetliy, became an occasion for discussion. "The obtained regularities can be extended to neighboring areas for the forecast of gold content," explained Artem Maskov. "Based on your analysis of the Light, what is the direct search sign? We go abroad for a license - and what will we look for? How do we choose the sites for setting up surface works? "Vitaly Nesis asked. Artem Maskov showed sections on the map, stressing that "everything was done not only at the computer - rocks were selected, an analysis of the mineral composition was made, everything is the same." 
“The prospective site is in the southeast, in the east. Next year we plan to go through channels for possible mineralization within the local project. Tatiana needs to consider more carefully, perhaps there is something like Tamara [one of the acting quarries of Svetly. - EastRussia] it will work out, ”Artyom Maskov's mentor, chief geologist of the Okhotsk Mining and Gas Company Dmitry Lesnyak joined in. 
As a result, the jury gave the third place to Artem Maskov, the second to Anna Bykova, and the first to the mine surveyor Sergei Loskutov, who developed a script in the Datamine Studio 3 program to automate the processing of survey data. The program developed by him makes it possible to reduce the labor costs of the mine surveying service when preparing data for calculation in the mining industry. If before the application of Loskutov's script the process took two days, now the same work can be done in one hour.
In 2017, more than 45 young professionals from Polymetal presented their work at regional sites in Khabarovsk, Magadan and Astana (Kazakhstan). The finals will be held in St. Petersburg for the first time. In 2018, workers of the Kapansky GOK (Armenia) and young specialists from the Yakutsk branch of Polymetal will join the NPC.

After the conference, Vitaliy Nesis noted that three areas are most promising in terms of finding new approaches: “firstly, the use of digital technologies to improve the efficiency of business processes; secondly, increasing the efficiency of developing deposits in difficult mining and geological conditions; and the third area is labor protection and improvement of industrial safety in underground mining. "
“We always need young specialists, we need fresh blood, fresh thoughts. And practice shows that research and production conferences are of great benefit, because they demonstrate to young specialists that they are in demand, they can develop professionally, and that there is an opportunity for career growth. I was pleased to see that students are present at the conference. They see their near future and, perhaps, begin to think about not leaving, but staying here and working, ”said Vitaly Nesis. 
The general director of the company admitted that "he was very impressed with the quality and, most importantly, the applied value of most of the work." “These are not some theoretical calculations, but ideas and projects that can be implemented at our enterprises in a fairly short time and for very reasonable money. I am sure that the majority of participants in the CPP will see how their ideas are transformed from presentations into really working projects, ”he said.
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